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Spam Level Hovers at 90% in 2009

Dermot Harnett, Principal Analyst for Symantec's Antispam Engineering, said that the last 10 years have witnessed the average volume of spam in the organizational inboxes taken collectively has grown from 8% of total e-mails in 2000 to an average of 90% in 2009, as per the news by COMPUTERWORLD on January 14, 2010.

Remarkably, bulk of the surge in spam amounts was seen in the second half of the decade. In a latest blog post, looking back at the spam trends of the past ten years, Harnett wrote that some of the more prominent spam facts in the past decade include over 40 Trillion spam e-mails being distributed in 2009 alone.

There had been a steady increase in spam levels from 56% of all e-mails in 2006 to a record high of 95% at the end of May 2009. This outburst not only left an impact on the volume of messages received, but also augmented the adverse impact to businesses. On the other hand, actual cost of spam is hard to realize, some estimates put it at $130 Billion globally, of which $42 Billion is in the US.

In addition to this, spammers have proved to be more urbane and elusive than ever over the past decade as people observed the increasing intricacy of spamming techniques. Spam messages with attached images accounted for as much as 52% of total spam volume in January 2007. PDF spam estimated for roughly 20% of total spam e-mails in August 2007.

Further, malware-laden spam, social networking sites, and spam related to current events and celebrities have become the most popular targets for cybercriminals as they attempt to devise a way to try and intrude a user's inbox. For instance, in 2009, the sudden demise of Michael Jackson persuaded some spammers; and consequently, at its height, Michael Jackson spam simply surpassed the spam related to President Obama. It is noted that Obama spam accounted for nearly 2% of total spam messages delivered.

Also, Harnett stated that the economics behind the spam imply that 2010 will prove to be yet another action-packed year for spammers. The circulation of spam e-mails will continue as long as the channels of distribution are relatively inexpensive, botnets continue to be lively and shift locations, and spammers come out with latest and inventive ways to try to surpass anti-spam filtering.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

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